×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Driver Trapped In Speeding Car At 125 Mph

timothy posted about a year ago | from the can't-wait-for-robot-cars dept.

Bug 1176

Hugh Pickens writes writes "The Guardian reports that Frank Lecerf was driving his Renault Laguna in Northern France when the car's speed jammed at 60mph. Then each time he tried to brake, the car accelerated, eventually reaching 125mph and sticking there. While uncontrollably speeding through the fast lane as other cars swerved out of his way, he managed to call emergency services who immediately dispatched a platoon of police cars. Realizing Lecerf had no choice but to keep racing along until his fuel ran out, they escorted him at high speed across almost 125 miles of French motorway, past Calais and Dunkirk, and over the Belgian border. After about an hour, Lecerf's tank spluttered empty and he managed to swerve into a ditch in Alveringem in Belgium, about 125 miles from his home. 'My life flashed before me,' says Lecerf. 'I just wanted it to stop.' His lawyer says Lecerf will file a legal complaint over 'endangerment of a person's life.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

1176 comments

It's called the key (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year ago | (#42902305)

Turn it to "off" and the engine will lose power. The car will stop. Also, you can shift it in to neutral. Might not be the best for the engine at high RPMs, but it'll do the trick.

Seriously, I have trouble believing these "My car is stuck going fast and can't stop!" stories are anything other than failure to understand how to operate your vehicle.

Re:It's called the key (1, Insightful)

Twinbee (767046) | about a year ago | (#42902321)

Handbrake as well would have worked surely?

Re:It's called the key (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902407)

It probably would have broken. The parking brake doesn't typically use the hydraulic system the rest of the car uses. In my vehicle, it's a wire than runs back to a separate, much weaker, mechanism.

Re:It's called the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902439)

Not a chance at 125 mph (fortunately!). And if it did, it would lock up the rear tires meaning the slightest input to the wheel would cause a wicked tailspin.

Re:It's called the key (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902473)

Ever tried it?

Go into an empty parking lot with an automatic transmission.

Depress break, put the care into drive. Take your foot off the break, and then pull the handbreak after it's rolling.

The car will keep rolling on every vehicle I've ever driven -- and I've tried in at least four or five and every rental I've ever had a few extra minutes in.

Handbreaks aren't powerful enough to stop any vehicle in motion whatsoever. Some of them won't even prevent a stopped automatic from rolling.

No... I'm pretty sure your only hope whatsoever is to shift the transmission into neutral

Re:It's called the key (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902521)

Article says "A Renault technician had been on the phone with police throughout the chase trying to help but couldn't come up with a solution." I'm pretty sure that those two options were tried.

Re:It's called the key (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#42902541)

Most handbrakes I've used can barely hold the vehicle against an idling engine, let alone one that's propelling a car at 200km/h. Handbrakes almost never get used, so they're the first thing to seize up. (Note: My experience is with automatic transmissions only.)

Re:It's called the key (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902653)

Handbrake as well would have worked surely?

He was driving at 120mph on the highway you fucking moron.

Re:It's called the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902659)

In my experience handbrakes are really bad at stopping a moving vehicle. Maybe all my cars have been too old to have good emergency brakes though.

Re:It's called the key (-1, Flamebait)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#42902333)

You're thinking of an old-fashioned car, like the Model T. Today's cars don't do that, grandpa. Computer controlled.

Re:It's called the key (1, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#42902455)

"You're thinking of an old-fashioned car, like the Model T. Today's cars don't do that, grandpa. Computer controlled."

B.S.

I don't know about Renault, but in the U.S. all gasoline cars that I know of have an ignition switch that literally shuts off electrical power to the cylinders, rendering them incapable of firing. This is regardless of whether they are computer controlled. (That's what "ignition switch" means.)

If any computer controlled cars lack this feature, it should be added back in, yesterday.

Re:It's called the key (3, Insightful)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | about a year ago | (#42902607)

"You're thinking of an old-fashioned car, like the Model T. Today's cars don't do that, grandpa. Computer controlled."

B.S.

I don't know about Renault, but in the U.S. all gasoline cars that I know of have an ignition switch that literally shuts off electrical power to the cylinders, rendering them incapable of firing. This is regardless of whether they are computer controlled. (That's what "ignition switch" means.)

If any computer controlled cars lack this feature, it should be added back in, yesterday.

Even "push to start" cars act like ATX power supplies. If you hold down the power button for a few seconds it will force a poweroff.

Surely in an area with predominantly manual transmissions, neutral / declutch would come to mind?

Re:It's called the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902479)

I drop mine to neutral when coasting downhill at 75mph, it prevents the engine breaking when I'm otherwise coasting and saves a bit on gas. The only trick is to get the rpm's back up to where they need to be when I shift it back to drive. :-)

But while turning it off may not be possible and the emergency break may be useless for a moving car, even in a new car shifting to neutral will work

Re:It's called the key (2)

superdave80 (1226592) | about a year ago | (#42902575)

That's not necessarily true. With the engine engaged coasting downhill, modern cars shut off the flow of fuel. When you shift into neutral, the car has to feed fuel to the engine to keep it idling. But I'll admit I've not heard which way uses less gas.

Re:It's called the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902619)

"You're thinking of an old-fashioned car, like the Model T. Today's cars don't do that, grandpa. Computer controlled."

I would just put a piece of my tinfoil hat in the the cigarette lighter, instant short-circuit.

Re:It's called the key (4, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#42902645)

I've yet to see a car without a transmission. Dropping into neutral is the universal procedure for a runaway engine.

Re:It's called the key (1)

chad.koehler (859648) | about a year ago | (#42902365)

While on the surface I agree, most new car models use electronics for both starters and transmissions. Without actual mechanical connections (from the cabin to the transmission for instance), this may or may not work in every case. Definitely worth a try though.

Re:It's called the key (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#42902549)

"While on the surface I agree, most new car models use electronics for both starters and transmissions."

That would be a bonehead way to design an automobile. I don't mean electronic controls, I mean no way to bypass them. To the best of my knowledge, your ignition switch goes to a relay that physically disconnects power to the high-voltage ignition system.

Re:It's called the key (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about a year ago | (#42902379)

Turn it to "off" and the engine will lose power. The car will stop. Also, you can shift it in to neutral. Might not be the best for the engine at high RPMs, but it'll do the trick.

Sure, unless you have a newer car with those stupid keyless ignition systems, where there's no keyslot, just a "key" with an RFID that allows you to push a button to start car as long as the key is in your pocket. It's all controlled by the car's computer.

Re:It's called the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902621)

Right and how do you shut off the car when you're parking it? There's always a damned off switch. Finally, anybody familiar with the car know how the automatic gear box is? everything in the US has a Neutral position even on automatic and everyone that I've ever been in even allows you to downshift to a lower gear so he may have blown the tranny but would be well below 125

Re:It's called the key (5, Informative)

grnbrg (140964) | about a year ago | (#42902647)

Not the case. I've got one of the fancy new keyless ignition vehicles, and I've tested this.

With the engine running, and with forward motion, three (maybe four) presses in quick succession or pressing and holding the the ignition switch for 2-3 seconds will kill the engine. You need to shift into park and press the brake to start again.

I thought it was interesting that there were two paths that would do this, both of which are a reasonably likely response in a panic situation -- tap the button a zillion times, or try to mash it into the engine compartment.

2009 Nissan Cube, if you care. Or if you don't.

grnbrg.

Re: It's called the key (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902387)

Thus engaging the steering wheel lock.

Re: It's called the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902567)

If you flick it to off then back to on, your steering will only briefly lock, and you'll still have non-power steering (the power steering pump only makes it EASIER to steer)

Re: It's called the key (3, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#42902581)

My car has:
OFF, ACC, ON, START

The engine starts on START, obviously. The key sits at ON while driving. If I drop it down to ACC, the engine dies but most things stay powered. The wheel does not lock.

The wheel only locks when I move the key to the OFF position, and to do that I have to be in park or neutral (or use some kind of poking implement to depress the shift-lock override, which also lets me do Bad Things like drop it straight into park from drive.

Every car with a key that I've ever seen has the same configuration.

Re:It's called the key (2)

iamhassi (659463) | about a year ago | (#42902399)

Turn it to "off" and the engine will lose power. The car will stop. Also, you can shift it in to neutral. Might not be the best for the engine at high RPMs, but it'll do the trick.

Seriously, I have trouble believing these "My car is stuck going fast and can't stop!" stories are anything other than failure to understand how to operate your vehicle.

^----- This. The brake pedal causing the car to accelerate seems highly unlikely without some major hacking, and even if the brakes are bad the emergency brake should still be working. I hope the car is still in good shape so the manufacture can inspect it, I imagine we will be hearing more on this story.

Re:It's called the key (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902563)

The car was modified with disabled-driver controls. It's unclear what options he had available to regain control.

Re:It's called the key (5, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#42902595)

"The brake pedal causing the car to accelerate seems highly unlikely without some major hacking,"

TFA states that the driver was "disabled", so presumably his car was equipped with hand controls. Yes, that's a major hack.

Re:It's called the key (0)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#42902601)

What emergency brake? You mean the parking brake?

Yea, that's not an emergency brake and should never be used in such a manner.

Re:It's called the key (0)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#42902409)

Turn it to "off" and the engine will lose power. The car will stop.

Somewhat tricky with keyless ignition, but not necessarily impossible.

Also, you can shift it in to neutral. Might not be the best for the engine at high RPMs, but it'll do the trick.

The car in question was an automatic, so no neutral.

Re:It's called the key (5, Informative)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#42902457)

The car in question was an automatic, so no neutral.

Since when? The N in PRNDL stands for neutral.

Neutral Gear (2)

crow (16139) | about a year ago | (#42902469)

Automatics still have a neutral gear. Most people don't use it, so I can understand a driver in a panic situation not thinking of it, but I would expect he would try it when stuck in that situation for an hour.

Re:Neutral Gear (1)

emag (4640) | about a year ago | (#42902559)

My car stalls in the cold. It also had a part fail that would ensure enough air at idle/near idle (got that replaced). I've gotten *really* good at shifting to neutral while moving and restarting the engine. I hate winter.

(Plus, the thing's 13 years old)

Re:It's called the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902499)

All automatics I've ever driven have a neutral. It's labeled "N".

I've yet to encounter an automatic with no neutral (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year ago | (#42902501)

All of them have an "N" setting that I've seen. It disengages the engine from the wheels. You'd need it for towing and so on.

Re:It's called the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902529)

so what does "N" stand for on the gearshift of my automatic transmission car?

Re:It's called the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902545)

If automatics don't have neutral, then what's the "N" for on "PRNDL"?

Re:It's called the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902573)

The car in question was an automatic, so no neutral.

I've never driven a Renault Laguna, but every car I have driven, even those with and automatic transmission, has neutral. Typically, you get Reverse, Park, Neutral, Drive, Over Drive.

Re:It's called the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902423)

Depending on the models, the Laguna has a keyless entry and start / stop system. My BMW 318 doesn't stop its engine when the car is moving, pressing the button is useless.

Indeed, I'd rather trust my 1979 Merc's ignition lock.

Re:It's called the key (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902429)

Seriously, I have trouble believing these "My car is stuck going fast and can't stop!" stories are anything other than failure to understand how to operate your vehicle.

As usual, RTFA. "A Renault technician had been on the phone with police throughout the chase trying to help but couldn't come up with a solution."

Re:It's called the key (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#42902633)

"A Renault technician had been on the phone with police throughout the chase trying to help but couldn't come up with a solution."

Tell him to drive it to Belgium and wreck it there.

Re:It's called the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902437)

"Lecerf has filed a legal complaint after his Renault Laguna, which is adapted for disabled drivers, jammed at 200km/h (125mph) and the brakes failed"

Wonder if the modifications are at play.

Re:It's called the key (1)

Lisias (447563) | about a year ago | (#42902467)

On a automatic car? With electronic traction control? Risk business.

If the wheels got locked at that speed, you are dead.

Re:It's called the key (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#42902631)

Which is why you drop it from ON to ACC, killing the engine but leaving (almost) everything powered up.

Re:It's called the key (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902483)

Renault Laguna is keyless. There is no physical switch in the system you can turn 'off'. it's all computer controlled.

You're boned.

SHOULD be able to shift into neutral. but if that's also all computer controlled... boned.

Re:It's called the key (1)

compro01 (777531) | about a year ago | (#42902513)

Turn it to "off" and the engine will lose power.

The vehicle in question doesn't have a conventional key. Observe [autotesty.com.pl]. The card with the red fob hanging off it is the key and I'm not sure if the card is able to be removed while the vehicle is running.

Re:It's called the key (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#42902649)

Not being able to remove it seems like a pretty stupid feature.
I can't think of any reason why it should lock in place.

Re:It's called the key (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year ago | (#42902561)

Turn it to "off" and the engine will lose power. The car will stop. Also, you can shift it in to neutral.

The Renault Laguna is not a normal car.

Lecerf has filed a legal complaint after his Renault Laguna, which is adapted for disabled drivers, jammed at 200km/h (125mph) and the brakes failed, forcing him to continue careering along a vast stretch of French motorway and into Belgium.

Remove keys from ignition? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902307)

I'm wondering if this should happen, wouldn't it be easier to turn off the ignition while the car is in motion or has that been removed as a 'safety feature'

Re:Remove keys from ignition? (1)

kinarduk (734762) | about a year ago | (#42902497)

I had a french car once (or twice) a Peugeot, it was a diesel. I had a situation where I couldn't turn it off. Keys out everything, nothing worked, it just kept running, eventually I managed too stall it. This is different to TFA as the accelerator wasn't stuck, but it might be a contributory factor.

Re:Remove keys from ignition? (1)

ravenlord_hun (2715033) | about a year ago | (#42902611)

If you have a card, did you try holding down the power button? Most people simply press it briefly when the engine is running and assume it's not doing anything.

Older diesel engines could run without electric power as long as they had fuel; modern diesels depend on high-pressume injectors which in turn only work with a properly functioning ECU. Cutting power to any of those prevents the engine from working that instant, and that should be the case once you manually remove power...

Re:Remove keys from ignition? (1)

ravenlord_hun (2715033) | about a year ago | (#42902503)

Turn the ignition key to OFF will unpower everything, including engine systems.

If you have a more recent car with keycards, press and hold the POWER button and pull out the card. It's not very complicated either way....

why swerve into a ditch when it run outta gas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902311)

why swerve into a ditch when it run outta gas?

Re:why swerve into a ditch when it run outta gas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902459)

Probably to avoid being in the way.

Neutral? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902331)

And this car didn't allow it to be shut off or to be shifted into neutral to release power to the wheels? Swerving through traffic gaining speed was the answer?

Glad he didn't have a full tank or he might have broken orbit by now ...

It's a Renault (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902341)

Rubbish electrics, bound to happen.

Fascinating (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902349)

Apparently French cars don't have ignition switches. Or gear shifts.

Re:Fascinating (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#42902441)

Apparently French cars don't have ignition switches. Or gear shifts.

Generally they do, but not the automatic ones with keyless ignition.

Driver Trapped In Speeding Car At 125 Mph (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902355)

Why didn't he just turn off the car? Or put it in Neutral?

Fake story? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902357)

Why couldn't he either put the car in neutral or turn off the ignition?

No Key!? No E-Brake? NO SHIFTER!??? (1)

randombilly (1082811) | about a year ago | (#42902359)

Do they make a car where you cant either turn the key off, or shift it into neutral or just pull up the emergency brake??? Also, if he was already stuck going 125 by the time he got ahold of the police, how did they ever catch him?? Im suspicious of this whole story.

Re:No Key!? No E-Brake? NO SHIFTER!??? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year ago | (#42902431)

If you're heading east at 125 miles per hour, and there's a police station 75 miles east of you, can the police from that station ever catch you, even if they take a 15 minute donut break?

The apparent inability to otherwise change gears in the car or turn it off sounds a bit more concerning. That would be pretty standard advice from the guy on the other end of 999/911.

Re:No Key!? No E-Brake? NO SHIFTER!??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902557)

Yes, there are cars with no keys to turn off... Cars with automatic shifting gears that won't move to neutral unless the car is stop. And at 200km/h I wouldn't pull the emergency brake!!!!! Regarding the police catching him, I would say it's very easy, you know the police doesn't have to enter the highway in the same place the guy did?!?! It could easily be the guy catching up the police :p

Re:No Key!? No E-Brake? NO SHIFTER!??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902571)

According to TFA, his car is modified to accommodate a disability. It doesn't say what kind of disability, or what kind of modifications were made, but I wouldn't doubt that it has some other electronic way to control acceleration/deceleration.

Re:No Key!? No E-Brake? NO SHIFTER!??? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#42902617)

Also, if he was already stuck going 125 by the time he got ahold of the police, how did they ever catch him??

Simple, they just dispatch the police from the station where he is GOING TO BE instead of where he was. Besides, nothing is preventing the cops from doing 130 or even 150mph to catch up to him.

Re:No Key!? No E-Brake? NO SHIFTER!??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902641)

Pulling the emergency brake at 125 MPH is a REALLY bad idea. So is turning off the engine with the key, which locks the steering wheel. Shifting the car into neutral is the way to go.

Neutral Gear? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902361)

Hasn't he or anyone else heard of the Neutral gear (auto or manual gear box)?
or very gently applying the hand brake?

Disengage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902371)

I guess Renault Laguna don't include an ignition key as standard? I might have wanted to turn off the engine is the circumstances described.

Car wouldnt let him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902391)

Car wouldnt let him put it in Neutral, or Remove his keys? sure at 125 that would be dangerous, but so is driving at 125 in the first place, and he'd still have breaks, though they wouldnt be powered, and an E-Brake...

Couldn't he just turn the key? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902393)

Or do modern cars not have ignition keys nowadays.

The most modern car I've ever driven is a 2002 Holden commodore, so I'm guessing the technology may have progressed a bit since.

Car was adapted with controls for disabled people (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902425)

The article mentioned that the car was adapted with controls for people with disabilities (probably hand controls for the accelerator and brakes).

Not only would this kind of modification introduce another point of failure in the system, the hand controls were probably not debugged and tested to the same degree as the traditional ones.

Oh really?!? (0, Flamebait)

djnanite (1979686) | about a year ago | (#42902427)

Change gears down. It's called engine braking. Change to a lower gear and your engine will either explode, or it will slow down. Either way, you'll stop.
Or how about the handbrake? You may skid, yes, but you will also slow down.
Got an ignition switch? Turn it off.
Got keys in the ignition? Take them out.

ProTip! if you're keen for a joy-ride, call the police first and pretend your car's gone crazy. Not only do you get to legitimately drive faster than you've ever driven before, but the police will also clear the roads for you.

Result!

Re:Oh really?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902615)

Noooooooooooo!. Using an engine brake is called engine braking. If you have gears you are using a clutch so think that through.

Steering lock engaged without key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902449)

Removing the key on my last car disabled the power steering and engaged the steering lock so probably not a good idea, however transmission to neutral should do the trick.

Transmission was stuck too? (1)

Beeftopia (1846720) | about a year ago | (#42902471)

The engine transfers power through the transmission to the wheels. Disengage the transmission from the wheels by putting it in neutral.

The most exotic transmission I can think of is a CVT transmission. But can't that be put into neutral too?

125 mph for 125 miles... (0)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year ago | (#42902485)

I can buy that, in panic mode, a driver might be temporarily reacting to strange events and not thinking clearly. If you're still clueless how to shut the engine off with the key after an hour or so of driving, well, your cull is necessary for the betterment of the breeding pool. Can you say "Lawyer Up!"

Missed an important point here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902489)

I've read elsewhere that his car was modified because he had a disability which explains all the problems with controls.

Shut off the engine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902493)

I assume that it has something to do with the modifications made to accommodate whatever disability he had, but why couldn't he shut off the engine? Is there something else in modern cars that prevent you from turning it off?

In an ignition system which requires a key to be inserted, you can just turn the key back to shut off the engine, as long as you are careful not to turn it all the way back and lock your steering wheel. I haven't tried it myself, but a driving instructor taught me this about 16 years ago.

Police Jurisdiction (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#42902507)

While everyone else screams about shifting into Neutral, I'm going to ask a question:

TFS mentions that he crossed the border into Belgium. How does cross-border highway police jurisdiction work in Europe? Can the French cops follow him across, or do they have to call ahead and have Belgian cops waiting to take over?

Put it in low gear or neutral! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902527)

What an idiot. Why didn't he put the car in a lower gear or neutral?

Missing Details... (5, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#42902535)

Details Missing from the quoted article is this bit:

The Frenchman, who suffers from epilepsy and drives a specially-modified car that has controls on the steering wheel to operate the throttle and brake, has filed a legal complaint against the vehicle's manufacturer.

Source here. [theweek.co.uk]

Unless Renault did these modifications for him, I doubt he has a chance in hell of winning his suit.

I've never seen a car you couldn't force into Neutral even under heavy acceleration.

Clearly nobody RTFA (2)

DrData99 (916924) | about a year ago | (#42902553)

Because you missed the "adapted for disabled drivers" and "wasn't the first time the speed dial jammed".

Clearly not a stock Renault.

Adapted car (1)

Yoda222 (943886) | about a year ago | (#42902555)

This is a car adapted for disabled people. RTFA before saying "hey, just do something."

But the article don't say what are the change from a regular car.

Really scary (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#42902585)

125 miles of French motorway, past Calais and Dunkirk, and over the Belgian border.
'My life flashed before me,' says Lecerf. 'I just wanted it to stop.'

My, if a car were taking me at high speed to Belgium, I'd be scared to death, too.

NOT STOCK (4, Informative)

markdavis (642305) | about a year ago | (#42902587)

This was not a stock car. It had been modified for a "disabled" person who also had epileptic seizures. We don't know exactly HOW it was modified from the articles, but it could have hand controls and other things that really have nothing to do with a "normal" car and could have contributed to the problems.

It might also explain why he might have been unable or incapable of turning off the car or putting it into neutral.

Neutral (0)

Joe U (443617) | about a year ago | (#42902597)

I've never heard of a car that can't be switched to neutral while in drive.

(I used to do this occasionally going down an empty road (4 car/hr tops) on a steep hill. Usually got up to 35, which was enough to coast all the way to the stop sign at the top of a smaller hill.)

5 seconds on google people. (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | about a year ago | (#42902603)

"Why didn't he just remove the key?"
There's a possibility he didn't have one.

The Laguna featured a 'keyless' ignition system which, instead of a key, used a credit card style device to unlock the car and start the engine. -Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

This happened to my father (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902655)

While my sister was in the car as well. It was in an old car, too; mid-80 manufacture. Nobody had ever seen anything like it.

What happened was this:

- The physical brake cable broke while on the highway
- The cable snapped around and managed to latch on to the throttle body, forcing the engine into maximum acceleration. Both pedals unresponsive.

This car was a manual, though, and the clutch still operated... so as he passed ~90 mph, he took it into neutral, which had the side effect of redlining the engine. The car was then shut off and coasted to a stop. No harm done, except to nerves. The mechanic had never seen anything like it before or since.

We didn't pursue a lawsuit.

Also happened to me, sort of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902657)

A similar thing happened to me a few years ago in my father's ML 320. I had it on cruise control and hitting the brakes caused the engine to rev faster (it turned out it was a problem with the "brake light sensor" which meant the computer didn't know that you had applied the brakes, so the engine was compensating to maintain the cruise speed). By repeatedly tapping the brakes, the cruise controlled was deactivated. Once in a Ford Falcon '93 station wagon (my father's also) the brakes would just not work. Repeatedly jumping on the brake pedal made the car stop - I was later told the ABS system had failed. I believe all cars have similar fail-safe systems where tapping the brakes a number of times in quick succession can disable other systems such as ABS.

car not "stock"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42902663)

From the article -

"Lecerf has filed a legal complaint after his Renault Laguna, which is adapted for disabled drivers..."

(emphasis added)

One might infer from the article that the car is not factory stock, or that the driver isn't fully functional within the vehicle. Perhaps reading the vehicle's onboard computer will give some answers.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...